NHS experts: Scots schools should give morning-after pill

Tue, 19 Feb 2013

An influential group of NHS experts is urging the Scottish Government to allow the morning-after pill to be handed out in schools.

But the push has faced criticism for being irresponsible and “pours more fuel on the flames”.

In a written submission to a Holyrood committee, the Scottish Sexual Health Lead Clinicians Group (SSHLCG) accused ministers of “running scared” of its critics over contraception in schools.

Emergency

The group said: “Why is emergency contraception not available in schools? Why are condoms and contraception not accessible? Vaccination against a sexually transmitted infection (HPV) is given in schools, why can’t pregnancy and other STIs be prevented?”

The Scottish parliament’s Health and Sport Committee are looking into the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the country, which is one of the highest in western Europe.

Ministers had hoped to cut the pregnancy rate for under 16s to 6.8 pregnancies per 1,000 girls by 2010.

Pregnancy

But the pregnancy rate for that year was 7.1 per 1,000.

John Deighan, the parliamentary officer for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said the SSHLCG call was irresponsible.

He said: “They are promoting the behaviour that causes the problem and this simply pours more fuel on the flames.”

Outrageous

He added: “Children are already being sexualised to an outrageous extent and not enough effort is being made to discourage it.”

Schools in Dumfries and Galloway have already come under fire for handing out morning-after pills to teenage girls without parental consent.

Ann Allen, Family Education Trust executive member, said she thought the programme was “very ill-conceived and badly thought out”.

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